By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – “Health care is reform is not a website,” said President Obama last October in Boston at a pep rally to reassure the troops that the dysfunctional launch of Obamacare was not an omen of bad times to come.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

And lo and behold, Gov. Patrick repeated the exact same line last week during a WBZ-TV interview about the state’s dysfunctional connector website.

The point is, I guess, that the bureaucratic incompetence that has left untold thousands of people unsure whether or not they have the health insurance they’ve paid for is just a short-term annoyance of no real consequence, sure to be forgotten once the hiccups are straightened out and the bliss of coverage takes hold.

And the governor seemed to object to the question even being asked, saying “it’s important for all of us who have a public voice – me and members of the media – not to play into that panic, not to encourage that panic, but to tell people you’re covered.”

Perhaps he’ll be proven right, that this is much ado about nothing. But I can assure you his assurances are not reassuring the people stuck in health-connector limbo that I’ve been talking with.

They are frantic with worry that despite their best efforts, they are without the insurance they need to avoid financial catastrophe should they need major medical care before the state cleans up its act.

They’re furious with a bureaucracy that runs them in circles and can’t give straight answers despite having months, if not years, to reinvent the wheel.

And they wonder – if this is the treatment they’re getting now, what will it be like trying to get treatments approved and payments made further down the road?

Justifiable panic, I’d say, even if the president and governor want to pretend otherwise.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.



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